Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

We have previously written about the autonomous, remotely driven trucks being used in the mines in Australia and the Google cars that have driven over 700,000 miles without a driver as a true test of the viability and safety of the next generation of cars and trucks.

In the US, truck manufacturers are delivering autonomous trucks to the military, but now the Florida Department of Transportation is about to launch its first venture into the public arena by using autonomous trucks in rolling construction zones on Florida highways. These construction zones for overlaying, repairs and striping are among the most dangerous conditions on our highways. Construction workers and transportation experts will welcome any technology that will avoid major rear end crashes and human injury and deaths.   Read more » about Autonomous Trucks Come First

I recently wrote about a graduation ceremony honoring several who had advanced within Marek’s workforce development programworkforce development program.  Part of the program included some remarks from Marek COO and Division President Mike Holland.  In talking about the importance of developing a quality, skilled workforce, Holland said “Workforce is our product.”  Holland then introduced the keynote speaker of the evening, John Roberts, Executive Vice President for Jones Lang LaSalle with the following:

“John’s roots in construction began like many of us at a jobsite, so he knows what drives our business.  He has been an active participant in the Construction Career Collaborative; he is on our Board.  He has used his influence in the industry to bring on other contractors to talk to many of our workforce professional partners, continuing to further this conversation.  As a contractor, he is a really practical guy, like a lot of builders, but he is a guy with vision.”

Roberts began his remarks by stating that he has long been passionate about labor and workforce development.  He has always believed that companies need to do more to develop the skilled workforce and create career paths which will attract young people into the construction industry.   Read more » about Keynote Speech at Marek WFD Graduation Commends and Inspires [VIDEO]

Despite the fact that women are the absolute best candidates for many careers in construction, the perception remains that it’s a “man’s world” and that’s all there is to it in the industry. Though women lag behind the men in jobs actually held, leaders in the industry are working overtime to try to get more women involved and dispel the myths that prevent many of them from applying for positions in the first place.

Now the Tampa Bay Times, the winner of multiple Pulitzer Prizes, reports that the pay gap for women in the construction industry is much smaller than in other kinds of businesses:

   Read more » about The Pay Gap for Women is Much Smaller in Construction Than Other Industries

We have written about the strength and skills of master craftspeople in the construction industry, but one company is going further to honor construction workers on their own.

According to a recent post on, the "Ozinga Brothers, a fourth-generation family-owned ready mix concrete producer and supplier business founded in 1928 on the south side of Chicago, currently run by five brothers and a cousin,” have teamed up with their ad agency to produce a campaign called “Born to Build” that honors construction workers.

The campaign, underwritten by the Ozingas, includes 16 billboards, a series of 60-second ads, and an on-going social media strategy that has paid dividends for the company in their efforts to honor the industry.    Read more » about Ad Campaign Honors Construction Workers [VIDEO]

More than two dozen states have now agreed to cooperate closely with the federal government to crack down on what’s known as “worker misclassification.”

Sometimes known as payroll fraud, worker misclassification has been called a “cancer” in the construction industry and other sectors of the economy as well. “Because of weak enforcement mechanisms, there are virtually no tangible consequences for violating the law,” said Professional Janitorial Services executive Don Dyer during a Texas House committee hearing on the subject last year. So far, Texas has taken a targeted approach to the problem but many advocates say it is simply not enough.    Read more » about Another state signals it will get serious about worker misclassification

Many successful companies have taken the skilled labor shortage into their own hands and have developed their own training programs to supply their needs for skilled craft professionals.  Marek is one such company, and on July 29 Marek took the time to honor several employees who have achieved milestones within their Workforce Development (WFD) Program.  Twenty-two graduating Helpers, seven graduating Mechanics, and twelve recently promoted Foremen, along with their coaches and their families attended a dinner and graduation ceremony at the Marek offices in Houston.  Each graduate stood with their favorite coach in front of the crowd as their career accomplishments and praise from their coaches were read aloud by Saied Alavi, Director of Operations at Marek Houston.   Read more » about Marek Recognizes Milestones in Workforce Development Program [VIDEO]

Two men in Georgia have been arrested on federal charges that they intentionally misrepresented the employment classification of construction workers on a project for the Centers for Disease Control, which is headquartered in Atlanta. Cesar Arbelaez Tabares and Juan Carlos Bazantes were arraigned after prosecutors said both men "committed fraud in connection with a construction project" for the CDC.

Prosecutors said the men engaged in a somewhat elaborate scheme to defraud both the CDC and the Internal Revenue Service. Their actions caused IWES to fail to report over $800,000 in wages to the IRS, investigators said.    Read more » about Federal Charges Filed in Connection with Alleged Payroll Fraud Scheme in Georgia

Construction Citizen has over the years highlighted the fact that there are fantastic careers for women in the skilled trades.  That's despite the stereotypes out there about men being the only ones welcome on construction sites and in other jobs where people work with their hands.

The fact is that women are some of the best candidates for many jobs in construction because they demonstrate better attention to detail and have more patience than men in plenty of instances.  During a recent panel discussion at Community Family Centers in East Houston, construction executives broke down many of the myths about working as a craft professional.

Educating folks about the realities of working in the skilled trades is an ongoing process.  For further proof, take the story of a young woman from the Pacific Northwest who is working with her father in their family plumbing business.   Read more » about Woman in the Trades Hopes to Inspire Others [VIDEO]